Interview with Paul Castro
I was recently blessed with the opportunity to interview Paul Castro, the author of the original screenplay, “August Rush” which became a feature film in 2007, starring Freddie Highmore, Robin Williams, Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
I was introduced to the move by my 17 years old sister, Michelle, and immediately became a fan! I ‘m not exaggerating when I say that I watched August Rush at least a dozen times.
I was touched and moved by the main character, August Rush, a young orphan who hears music in everything whether it be the wind in the grass or the roar of rush hour traffic. The sounds of the world are a symphony to his ears that later become fodder for his own symphony which helps him attract his biological parents. While watching the movie, all I could think was, wow this kid is working with the law of attraction; I wonder if the writer has any idea of what he was doing?
During Thanksgiving weekend, my girlfriend Lauren was visiting me in
The very next day after she arrived she was invited to a film screening of yet another magical movie, “Benjamin Button” and while waiting for the movie to begin she started talking to a young man sitting next to her who turned out to be the one and only, Paul Castro, the author of August Rush! When Lauren shared with Paul that she had “ just listened to the soundtrack like 20 times” and that her best friend absolutely loves his movie, Paul graciously gave Lauren his email and told her to give it to her friend and that he would send me a copy of the original script.
Talk about law of attraction and manifestation! My connection with this movie was so powerful that I believe it helped me manifest an interview with Paul Castro on my next trip to
In retrospect I realize that my meeting with Paul was as much about healing some of my judgments around about what it means to be a successful writer as it was to understand the brilliance behind one of my favorite movies, August Rush.
The inspiration for “August Rush” was Paul’s nephew, Anthony, a child prodigy who played Chopin at the age of eight at the Governor’s Ball. He created the name “AUGUST RUSH” to honor Geoffrey Rush after he won the Oscar for his portrayal of a musical genius in “SHINE.” Paul then combined that last name with the August moon on which his nephew was born, and there you have “AUGUST RUSH.”
Inessa: What does it mean to be a writer in 2008?
Paul: It’s important to be healthy as a writer in the year of 2008. The days of Edgar Allen Poe waking up on the side of the sidewalk in an opium binge are over. Hemmingway living in a bottle in between novels is not a healthy way to live. I think the best creativity is accessed when we are at our highest vibrational level and that’s usually through healthy living whatever that means to you.
I’m not one of these holy rollers that says oh you’ve got to live a monk life or a Buddhist life of just complete purity. It was Abraham Lincoln that said a man without vices surely has no virtue. I am with many vices, but I do try to be very healthy. I try to excersize and eat right and do certain levels of my own meditation-what that means to me. I think it puts me in a much better position to access the creativity that’s needed to tell a poignant story that’s going to enrich another person’s life.
Inessa: So you are saying you don’t have to be broke and sick in order to be brilliant?
Paul: There is no honor is struggling and being a starving artist.
Inessa: Are you saying it’s an old archetype?
Paul: It’s an old archetype that’s alive and kicking in the year 2008
Inessa: You think it’s still as bad?
Paul: Ya, I think in this town people love that. They love self- deprecation. They love telling people all about why there life isn’t working. You mentioned you were a Russian Jew. A lot of peoples say, this town is Russian, or this town is Gay. Oh you only succeeded because you went to UCLA and that’s the best film school, so you had an entrée into the business. It doesn’t matter what is true and what is not true. What is true is the reality that you are bringing to the table. Are you bringing your best self? There is a big difference between reputation and character. A person’s reputation is defined by other people. A character is something you know about yourself.
Paul told me he wrote 43 scripts before he got his big break. He graduated number 1 from the UCLA School of Film, Television, and Digital Media where he scored a three picture million dollar deal three weeks before graduation. Many of the other grad students gave up. Success wasn’t yet showing up on the physical level and they started thinking about settling down and getting married and went home. He admitted that perhaps going home was the right choice for them, but that “Before you abandon a path your on ask, what’s the real reason? and that “Courage is holding on just one minute longer.” Two gems that I have already programmed into my brain!
For many on the spiritual path, including myself, we get into the habit of attending every seminar, having our chakras balanced, and our guru on speed dial and spending 3000 hours in therapy just to remove the emotional scars from when we were teenagers so we can activate our full potential today. I speak for myself when I say that my motivation to do and share and create in this world has in the past become somewhat thwarted by the need to fix myself. And that the “fix” myself sometimes bypasses taking small steps towards larger goals and aspirations. It’s important to remember that one of the most fundamental principles of being a spiritual being having a human experience is that “Spirit meets us at the point of Action.” To me, Paul Castro perfectly exemplifies that principle.
Paul: Where there is a will there is a way. Life isn’t as complicated as most people want it to be. Mark Twain once said, “I’ve lived a long Life of Many Problems. Most of which Never Existed.” So we look back at our life and we go were those teenage years really that bad? If we’re going to be honest with ourselves usually they are a lot worse the way we’ve remembered them-we’ve amplified them.”
Inessa: Speaking of Teenager I went to an all girls catholic high school and I’m a Jew!
Paul: When I was in grade school, I got my ass kicked by a Catholic nun named Sister Eileen and she was a really tough nun and when I graduated from the 8th grade she knew I was going to military high school and we looked at each other like two old war buddies and I said, “I’m going to make you proud.” And she said, “Make G-d Proud” and I said” who’s God “ and she said, “The Artist In you” and the next day she died.
Everyone thought that I would be kicked out of
Inessa: Wow. I Love that!
Paul: This unwanting responsibility disrupts Sister Eileen’s efforts to complete an ice sculpture that she is been creating for the pope’s Christmas visit which is two weeks away. She has waited her entire life to meet the pope and ask for forgiveness for something that happened to her when she was 13 years young.
Inessa: That’s brilliant
Paul: That’s where spirituality meets metaphysics and spirituality comes in that’s it’s not labels that you have to adhere to, but actions.
Originally, Paul’s agent told him that the only person that could play that role of Eileen was Shirley MaClain but that they would need one million dollars.
Inessa: How did you manifest Shirley?
Paul: I went to see a doctor for a sports injury. I told him I was a writer and about my new script. He said a friend of mine would be perfect for this. And I said who’s your friend and he said, Shirley MacLain. Write me letter about the script and give me the script with the letter and I’ll give it to her, so I did. I was surfing then got in my jeep and the phone rings. “Hey Paul, its Shirley MaClain. Read your script. I love it when are you coming to
Inessa: That’s incredible you totally manifested Shirley MaClain against all odds! Not only are you so in alignment with your purpose but you don’t seem to have any fear.
Paul: I realize that we have a certain level of influence on our life and then we have to let go. It’s like when I was in Sand Point
Inessa: Do you want to win an Oscar someday?
Paul: Sure that would be great. That would be lovely… really appreciate that tangible physical acknowledgment of my ability. What’s more important to me is knowing that I have influenced the masses positively.
Inessa: How do you know when it’s time to surrender and when it’s time to act?
Paul: When you know you don’t have control. You can only influence as much as you can.
Inessa: how do you know when that moment is?
Paul: I really don’t believe we were born to suffer. I think we were born to contribute. When I go into a meeting with a studio exec or an actor it’s not like, I hope you by my script. Give me lots of money. Make me a famous screenwriter. It’s how can I contribute to you and your environment? Will this movie, if you’re an actor, help you to express your craft at the highest Level? Will it allow you to do other movies because it’s successful? At the studio, is this in with the types of movies you make? Is this going to influence your spiritual reach as far as reaching an audience on a grand level? I think people want to feel good-they want to feel god.
Inessa: It sound like the way you hold things is to be of service.
Paul: Not always, I still have an ego
Inessa: But you bring the service component into it. That probably helps you balance the energy of taking and giving.
Paul: Whenever I start feeling trepidatious or anxious into the situation I asked myself why, and it usually comes down to ego and that I’m not looking to add value. When I feel myself going into that realm I go wait and back up.
Inessa: Is there a turnaround technique you use when you feel fear?
Paul: I think when you feel the fear that’s telling you to do it. I think it just gives you a different perspective.
Paul is not only a major manifestor and an excellent writer but he is an altruist at heart. He volunteered for seven years as an expert crisis counselor at the Suicide Prevention Center of Los Angeles from 1997-2004. When I asked him why, he said that he wanted to offset the narcissism.
Inessa: What inspired you to be a writer?
Paul: First time I knew I was onto something was in the 6th grade. There was a teacher. She was going through a divorce and she was very angry at the world so she came in and told the kids to “write a creative writing story for the next hour you brats, I’m going outside to smoke.” So I wrote about her having an affair with the janitor and plotting to kill the principle and take over the school. So it got me in front of the board of trustees and my parents and they were going to kick me out of school. That was the first time I thought wow this writing thing is a really powerful thing it got everyone so fired up and upset.
Then when you have an opportunity to write in high school. When you’re trying to impress a pretty girl with a Valentine’s card or for her birthday. That’s really the only time I had the opportunity to write until I was a junior in high school. And there was teacher named Don Cheesman. I should find that guy because he was a big influence. He had us write a creative writing story for his class. And I wrote one called “Life and Death” about two marine core buddies who go to war in the Middle East under President Bush after Tel Aviv is attacked and one of them dies. The interesting thing about that story is that it was before the
I was inspired by Paul on so many levels. He is truly a heart-centered man who lives in service to his purpose while simultaneously contributing and making a positive difference on this planet through his writing and teaching! I’m so grateful that there are artists like him in
Paul is currently working on a project called THE ULTRA ONE, a true story about legendary African American ultrarunner DAVID GOGGINS and his quest to raise money through his running for the families of fallen warriors. Megastar WILL SMITH is considering playing the lead role.
Whether it was Paul’s military school that gave him the discipline to follow through on his visions, or Sister Eileen that taught him to be true to his inner artist, whatever it was he’s got the goods and we are so fortunate that he is sharing them with us!
If you wish to have your script evaluated by Paul, please go to: www.milliondollarscreenwriter.com
*Nick Castle was the follow on writer for “AUGUST RUSH”